Joker's Bottle of Frogs

by JokerXL

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Snow? In October?

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Just outside Aylesbury yesterday.
And, of course, it caused complete chaos in the area for the entire day.
30th Oct 2008, 12:56   comments (2)

Justice? Or (state sponsored) highway robbery?

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Navan, Republic of Ireland,
two lanes leading out of the town, I'm in the left lane going up a hill with a large sweeping curve to the left, about 70 degrees.
As you round the bend there are large white arrows painted on the road surface indicating that the left lane has become the lane for turning left only at the traffic lights some 50meters ahead.
There are no roadsigns prior to the bend.
I want to proceed straight across the lights so need to filter to the right of the two lanes which is now the only one for straight on. I indicate right.
A large white coach is travelling next to me, I let it's rear end pass my right mirror (remember I'm left hand drive on the left side of the road) and start to move over as there's a substantial gap behind the coach.
We're all braking steadily at this stage as the lights we're approaching have turned red.
The coach stops with my vehicle only partly across into that right hand lane. I'm stopped then at an angle across two lanes with the front of my vehicle mostly in the right lane, behind the coach, and the rear of the trailer still in the left lane, at an angle.
When the lights change and the bus moves off I follow it on. There's a beeping of a horn somewhere to the right of me and I see a white car 3/4 of the way up the trailer and dropping back as we pull away.
While I've been at an angle across the lanes, stationary at the lights, he's rounded the corner in the right hand lane and instead of stopping short of the rear of my trailer he's squeezed as far up the side as he can, "protecting" his presumed place behind the bus.
A non-event as far as I'm concerned, bit of a squeeze in traffic, no harm done, off we go then.
Ten minutes later, the other side of Kells, a Garde car passes me and indicates that I should pull over. Routine check, thinks I, but no sweat- I've had plenty of rest and haven't been in any hurry all day, 70kmh between towns.
Three Garde get out and accuse me of all kinds of carnage and mayhem! I have no idea what they're on about! The way they were carrying on you'd think I'd left a trail of dead school children in my wake.
I was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and take to the Garde barracks in Kells where I was "processed" into the system (all possessions taken away, shoes off, one phone call allowed).
It transpires that the feller in the white car along side of me has phoned-in a complaint about me and the local Garde have deployed at speed to apprehend "the Dutch bastard".
At no stage was I either interviewed or asked to make a statement.
The feller in the white car was called to the barracks and interviewed for a statement, after which I was formally charged with both "Dangerous Driving" and a lesser charge of "Driving Without Due Care And Attention".
There's a "fast court" in session in Navan and they manage to get this case tagged onto today's list so I'm brought immediately to the court.
On the way there, in the car and at the court offices I manage to have a few words with the prosecuting officer and tell him my side of what (never) happened.
He totally agreed with me that there really wasn't much, if anything, to answer for but as long as the complainant wished to continue then he had to put it before the Judge and let him decide.
They offered to drop the charge of Dangerous Driving, which carries a possible prison sentence, huge fines and driving bans, if I pled guilty to the lesser charge of Driving Without Due Care And Attention which would only be a fine.
The lawyer I was appointed told me she was pretty certain that this Judge would find me guilty whatever the charge, he always does, she said, your a truck driver and a foreign one too. So she's advised me to plead guilty to the lesser offence and take the smaller fine.
I phoned Huisman again for advice and was told it was my choice, not much they could do for me, call when you've got it sorted. Well thanks a bunch.
So "my" Garde sits in the dock, I'm just standing around to one side somewhere while his evidence is given: "the witness stated this, the witness saw that" (not at all hearsay then?) but he was putting a positive slant on his evidence, in my favour.
"speed was not a factor"
"he was indicating throughout"
"this incident comes in right at the bottom of the scale of things"
"no actual harm came to anyone"
"there is a significant blind spot in that area of the vehicle" etc etc
So I'm thinking that things are going quite well.
The judge then leans back and says "fifteen hundred euro or ninety days detention"
My lawyer managed to persuade him to come down to 1000 as that was the maximum I was able to get out of the cash machine (they have no facility to transfer money electronically, bloody third world country)
So, 150 payed to the lawyer for her troubles and I'm returned to the truck.
Six hours later.
Hopefully I'll never have to visit Ireland again and I'd advise anyone else to think twice about going there. A third world country pretending to be "western" and "civilized".
Still a long way to go, in my opinion.
24th Oct 2008, 08:17   comments (50)

WriteFree women's writers group 2008 anthology is out!

(viewed 1124 times)
My copy arrived in the post this morning!
Have you got yours yet?

They got some old hack to do the cover for them.
S'alright I s'pose.

18th Oct 2008, 23:48   comments (4)

The "tooth" of November

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November will have teeth, apparently.

I delivered 16 pallets of advertising inserts to a small industrial unit yesterday, one-man operation. 200,000 copies per pallet, that's 3.2 million altogether. There'd been a printing error on one of the inside pages. This feller had to unpack all the bundles, find the page at fault, place a sticker containing the correction over the offending paragraph and bundle them all up again.
3.2 million times, before the "tooth" of November.
Good luck mate!
18th Oct 2008, 08:32   comments (2)

The Salmon's nose (as they say over here)

Brand spanking new FH 16
€120,000,- to you sir, including the leather EVERYTHING inside.

Unfortunately not mine.
It, and 2 others just like it, was being prepped for delivery at the Volvo garage while I was there with my (now decidedly inadequate looking) FH12 440

I wasn't able to persuade him to let me "borrow" it for a couple of months.
16th Oct 2008, 15:54   comments (3)

And I thought I had a biggun!

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. . . . but then I don't have a feller walking behind me steering the rear wheels.
He was attempting to get onto a building site, Moerdijk, south of Rotterdam,
Even I could see, sat there waiting for him, that there was no way he was going to make the turn through the gates, colleague assisted rear-steer or no.
He had to back out again in the end.
16th Oct 2008, 09:48   comments (2)

The healthier option (for once)

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That's Bran flakes with fresh fruit, Muller-light and black coffee.
Disgusting, how's a man supposed to live on that?
16th Oct 2008, 08:02   comments (5)

Lucia de Berk wins the right to a re-trial!

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(photo is of Lucia's family after hearing the court's decision)
(photo; Martijn Beekman)

After so many months and years of fighting her corner Lucia was released from prison last April pending a judicial review of her case.
Link HERE to a summary of the developments to date (in English).

Last week it was confirmed that she should be granted a re-trial.
Since the most important piece of the Public Prosecutor's evidence has been completely discredited there appears to be very little left for them to throw at her.
The date has yet to be confirmed, the venue is the court of Arnhem.
Hopefully a formality but you never know with these things, there are still a great number of careers that need protecting, reputations on the line, pensions to be safeguarded, back-scratching to be done.
It's dirty, it's mean, it's bordering on the mediaeval.
And very few people seem to care that this is the state of affairs we live in.